How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
Type Your Dog Training Question Here...
Jane Lefler is online now

Hello I have a 16 week old Cockerpoo puppy who I have had

This answer was rated:

I have a 16 week old Cockerpoo puppy who I have had from 3 months old. We are delighted with her and her progress but are having difficulty with one thing. She is very mouthy and bitey and has been since we got her, particularly when you want to give a long cuddle and stroke. She clearly enjoys being handled but wont stop trying to bite our hands. I have tried a very firm no, pushing her away (which she see's as a game I have realised) and I was advised to say ouch as if hurt (which I feel will give her the wrong message that she is dominant?). I realise she is teething and as soon as she chews inappropriatley we give her a toy she is allowed to chew. It is really important to us to break this habit but we must be doing something wrong. Any advice gratefully received.

Hi Michaela,

Teaching a puppy not to bite and chew on things is very hard. This is because your puppy is teething as you suspect. You should provide your puppy with lots of appropriate things for him to chew on. They have wonderful chew toys that you can put treats inside or peanut butter inside that helps the puppy keep focused on that chew toy rather than you.

You have been told correctly, when a dog is chewing and nipping on people the best method is to say “NO’ make a cry of pain and most puppies will respond and stop. For those that don’t respond, you will need to redirect his nipping or biting to an appropriate object. If you are playing and she nips, you want to do the same and then stop playing with her. She should learn soon that if she nips, playtime is over. Some puppies learn earlier than others and most do not totally learn not to nip and chew on you until they are 4-5 months old. Since she is already 4 months old, she should know by now. If she enjoys being held, then when she bites, put her on the floor and ignore her. Do not let her get back up even if you need to attach a leash and slip it under your foot to stop her jumping back up.

Here are some great sites on bite inhibition.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

Once your pup has completed her shots which should be about now, you will want to enroll her in Puppy obedience classes. Of course you can work on sit and come at home but class will be a chance for your puppy to interact with other puppies and learn from the experience. She will probably be in contact with older dogs as well and gain more dog social skills as well. You should also have her around a varied group of people so she is comfortable with all people whether they are children, adults, elderly, white, black, and green. etc. A well socialized dog is less likely to become a problem dog.

Now there are some dogs that just don't seem to get the message no matter what normal method you use to stop the biting. Dogs that are taken away from their mothers too early are deprived of the time with their siblings and other dogs which helps them learn that biting can hurt so they need to be careful. Not sure if this fits with her upbringing, but it might. Now there is a method for stubborn biters but it should be used as a last resort. You can stop mouthing and biting hard by going the opposite direction. Instead of taking your hand out of her mouth, put it further in the mouth. DO NOT do this meanly (not that you would). Do not do it quickly or shove it in too far, just move it further in enough that it makes her uncomfortable so that she pulls her mouth away from your hand. SHe will learn that putting her mouth on your hand results in the hand going further in and possibly triggering a gag reflex which she will not find pleasant. I'v found that this methods works on the most stubborn puppies. Be sure only adults do this so you can be assured that they are doing it correctly.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jane

That is great advice, thank you so much. I particularly like the idea of peanut butter in a Kong maybe, she will love that I am sure, Also I think the main thing we are doing is not denying her play when she bites as you have suggested, I will certainly try this.


Thank you so much you have been a great help, I will rate accordingly.


ps Possibly too cheeky to ask so please feel free to ignore this bit, but have you found being an expert works well, I should imagine it can be easy for people to not pay so you must be working on faith and trust a lot? I am a coach and wonder whether my career coaching would work in this context. :)


Warmest wishes




I like to think that the majority of people are honest and do what is right. However, you do have to accept that there will be a certain percentage that will not follow through and rate. I'm sure some are even asking in this type of venue because they can walk away and not have to actually face a live person. You learn to do the best job you can and try your best to help those that you can. As in any industry where you are trying to help or teach people, there are a certain number that can not be reached or refuse to listen and w would be ineffective if we chose to focus on those versus all the people that we are able to help. For me this works as I am able to work from home and do not have to take as many in person training commitement allowing me to be home for my child, dogs and disabled partner.